Karolidis, Pavlos

1. Origin

Pavlos Karolidis was born in 18491 in Androniki (Endürlük), one of the richest small towns of Cappadocia, 11 km SE of Kaisareia (Kayseri). His father was Konstantinos Karloglou or Karolidis, a wealthy landowner and notable of Androniki. Konstantinos Karolidis was engaged in wheat trade, being one of the three rich merchants that financially contributed to the building of the Church of the Holy Trinity of Androniki in 1835.2 Karolidis was born to a family of scholars. The elder of his 8 brothers, Iordanis or Iardanos Karolidis, was one of the greatest Hellenists and Orientalists of Asia Minor, while he was also a member of the Ottoman Council of the State.3

2. Education – Upbringing

The mother tongue of Karolidis, according to him, was Turkish. However, he received a Greek education. He studied at the "Great School of the Nation" (Megali tou Genous Sxoli) in Constantinople and the Evangelical School of Smyrna. In 1867 he was registered in the School of Philosophy of the University of Athens and 3 years later he won a scholarship of Simon Sinas and went to Germany, where he completed his studies. He attended courses in Munich, Strasbourg and Tübingen, where he was awarded a Ph. D in philosophy in 1872.4

3. Activity

After he returned from Germany, Karolidis taught at the High School of Chalcedon and the Greek Lykeion of Peran in Constantinople. Between 1876 and 1886 he taught at the Εvangelical School of Smyrna. In 1886, encouraged by Charilaos Trikoupis and his teacher Konstantinos Kontos, he settled in Athens, where he taught for two months at the "Practical Lykeion". The same year (1886) he was elected assistant professor of General History in the University of Athens. At the same time, in 1893, and following a long dispute with the historian Spyridon Lambros and his fellow candidate Georgios Sotiriadis, he was directly appointed professor of Greek History, succeeding Konstantinos Paparrigopoulos.

3. 1. The ‘Cappadocian Circle’

The so-called ‘Cappadocian Cycle’ consists of the most important works of his first period as a writer. They were geographical studies on the district of Cappadocia, while the strong effect both his birthplace and the ideological and intellectual climate of τhis period had on the writer is obvious. In 1872, while he was in Tübingen, Karolidis wrote Archaeology of Cappadocia and the Pontos. It was a short, unpublished dissertation, where he tries to prove that the Cappadocians came from interbreeding between the native inhabitants of the region and the Assyrian invaders, and that the region was named ‘Cappadocia’ after the above raids took place, which though hie does not specifically date.

In 1784 he published the book Kappadokika, a historical and archaeological dissertation on Cappadocia, where he delves into the ancient history of Cappadocia once again. It is quite likely that Archaeology was the draft of Kappadokika, which seems to be the case due to both the similar content of the studies and the fact that extracts from the first study are included in the second study. The next work was Κomana and their remains, an archaeological and topographical monograph on Komana in 1882, and The Greek dialect spoken in Cappadocia in 1885. The latter is one of the writer’s most important studies. It is a linguistic study on the ancient Cappadocian language (after the 4th century BC) and its dialects. This study was awarded a prize by the Greek Philological Association (Ellinikos Philologikos Syllogos) of Constantinople. The ‘Cappadocian Cycle’ ended with the treatise Some remarks on the Asia Minor Aryan Races.5

3. 2. The Change in Karolidis’ Research Interests

However, and despite the fact that at the time in Greece begins a strong interest in Asia Minor Greeks, Karolidis stops delving into Cappadocia, while his studies on Asia Minor are of secondary importance in his works. The reason for this change must have been the fact that he became professor of Greek History at the University of Athens. Apart from his increased professional duties resulting from his new post –which bore little relationship to Orientalism– Karolidis should also deal with people who doubted him, such as Spyridon Lambros, who accused him of pursuing the Chair of Greek History without having presented any study on this subject. However, the initial direction of Karolidis must have been Orientalism. According to him, before he was elected assistant professor of General History, he had agreed with Lambros to jointly propose the establishment of the Chair of Orientalism, which would be given to Karolidis. But when Lambros was elected Professor of General History in 1886, he incorporated the subject History of Eastern Peoples into his teaching field, thus violating their agreement. As a result, Karolidis had to turn his research interests towards new directions and, thus, he turned to Greek History.

Between 1893 and 1908 Karolidis presented 18 books and 38 articles. Besides, in 1891, he published the Introduction to the History of the 19th Century, which should be considered an introduction to the three-volume History of the 19th century, published between 1892 and 1903. The History deals mainly with Greece. It is worth mentioning that the second volume covers only the Greek War of Independence. Karolidis then published the first two volumes of his Universal or World History in 1894-1895. Karolidis aimed to publish 10 volumes. However, he only managed to write 4 volumes, thus leaving this attempt unfinished. In this project, apart from its main content, Karolidis deals with theoretical and methodological issues of History, which is of particular importance given that few studies of similar content had been published in Greece until then. At the same time, Karolidis published some shorter works. He also translated two three-volume historical studies of Hertzberg and edited the fourth –first revised– edition of the History of the Greek Nation of Konstantinos Paparrigopoulos, published in 1902-1903. In addition, he wrote a great number of political articles published on newspapers, which prove the political activity of the Greek historian.

3. 3. Political Activity of Pavlos Karolidis

The first known political text by Pavlos Karolidis in Greece was published in 1898. Given the deep pessimism that prevailed after the defeat in the Greek-Turkish war of 1897, Karolidis tried to awaken the Greek interest in Macedonia –which had waned because of the latest developments– promoting the "Megali Idea". He claimed that action should be taken in Macedonia so that the Serbian and Bulgarian activities could be suspended. The views Karolidis took on the diplomatic policy Greece should follow are of particular interest. Karolidis rejected the idea of a Greco-Serbian or Greco-Bulgarian approach as well as any kind of approach to Russia. His main idea was the Greco-Turkish approach, which, in his opinion, would serve the "Megali Idea". However –and this must have been due to his royalist beliefs–, in 1902 he proposed that a trilateral agreement among Greece, Romania and Austria-Hungary be signed, thus following the line of the German proposals expressed by the Palace in Greece.6

In 1908 Karolidis was elected a member of the Ottoman parliament of the Young Turks. It was then that his political views started to change significantly: he rejected the policy of gradual "Grecisation" of the Ottoman State and the imposition of the Greek element on the ethnic communities of the empire. He also advocated the idea that the ‘body’ of the Ottoman State was and would remain Turkish, while its ‘spirit’ would remain Muslim. Thus, the subjects of the empire, regardless of their nationality, should have an Ottoman national conscience, while their national plans (their own versions of "Megali Idea") should aim at promoting their national culture as a means to develop the culture and the interests of the "East". He opposed to the intervention of the Greek or any other Balkan government in the internal affairs of the Ottoman Empire and attributed the change in the policy of the Young Turks after 1910 to such interventions. Karolidis thought that the change in the Young Turk policy did not aim to transform the Greek Orthodox Ottoman subjects into Turks, but it was just the result of a rat race between political parties.7

In general, as a member of the Ottoman parliament, Karolidis often ignored the instructions of the Greek Embassy and the Organisation of Constantinople and pursued his personal independent policy. The main directions in his political views were his anti-Slav feelings and the idea of a Greco-Turkish approach. This method resulted in his frequent confrontations with the above mentioned centres of Greek policy in Constantinople.8 The final rupture between Karolidis and the representatives of the Greek policy was occasioned because of his refusal to participate in the abstention of the Greek members of parliament from voting on 17/30 December 1911. A consequence of his position was to be temporarily excluded from the political life of the Ottoman State. In view of the elections the Sultan announced would be held on 15 January 1912 –the parliament was dissolved on the same day– Karolidis, as a matter of fact, was not included in the candidates of either the anti-unionists - which was only natural - or the unionists, for the latter wanted to avoid a possible confrontation with the Greek political forces of the Ottoman State.

Karolidis attempted to return to Greece and submitted a request to the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs asking to be permitted to return to his university duties. However, it was an inopportune moment to return to Greece; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommended that he return in April 1912, on the occasion of the international Congress on Orientalism in Athens. In this way, Karolidis would assume his university duties in a more decent way. Disappointed with this march of events Karolidis travelled abroad and returned to Constantinople around mid-March. It was then that the Greek unionists of Smyrna and the leadership of the party ‘Union and Progress’ warmly invited him to stand for the elections as a candidate of this party. Karolidis joined the party of ‘Union and Progress’, which was considered a national treason.9 Greece had already entered an anti-Turkish alliance, which was actually signed on 16/29 May 1912 between Greece and Bulgaria.

An immediate consequence was that the political and university circles in Athens managed to remove Karolidis' name from the preparatory committee for the Congress and prevent his participation in it, although Karolidis had been in Athens for this very reason. As a result, he returned to Constantinople, attended the inaugural meeting of the new parliament (18/4/1912) and remained there until September of the same year. The outbreak of the Balkan wars made him abandon the Ottoman State. Knowing that the conditions for returning to Greece were still adverse, he settled in Germany until around the end of the First Balkan War.10

3. 4. The Last Years (1915-1930)

Karolidis returned to his university duties in Athens at the beginning of the academic year 1915-1916 and remained there until he was sacked in 1918, whithin the framework of an effort to "cleanse" the state bureaucracy and the public sector from the royalists. In 1921, during the D. Rallis administration, after the acts that discharged the Venizelos administration were revoked, Karolidis returned to his Chair, where he remained for two years. He was pensioned off in 1923.

Karolidis produced few writings between 1913 and 1920 by contrast to the subsequent period. Between 1922 and 1929 Karolidis turned for the first time to the study of the Modern Greek History from 1453 to his days and produced his most known works: Contemporary History (1922-1929) and History of Greece (1925). Besides, when he edited the centennial sixth edition of the History of the Greek Nation by Konstantinos Paparrigopoulos, he annexed the last part of his Contemporary History. This part covered the period from 1897 to 1929 and was initially intended to be the 8th volume of Contemporary History. That was the last work of the Greek historian and was published in 1932, two years after he died.11 His bitter criticism against monarchy in Greece is impressive because it flatly contradicts his earlier views. He even describes the reign of Konstantinos –whom he had fervently supported in the past– as a complete sham for the Greek State.12

Pavlos Karolidis died on 26 July 1930. Fotiadis says that although Karolidis was an expert on world history and a good antiquary, he was not a historian in the wide meaning of the word. Despite his vast knowledge, his works have many methodological problems and gaps. However, given that any opinions should be expressed taking the historical framework of each period into account, it cannot be denied that Karolidis was a very important intellectual figure engaged in significant political activities.13

1. As Kirki Georgiadou (Γεωργιάδου Κ.) correctly remarks, Kougeas (Κουγέας) believes that Karolidis was born in 1848. See Κουγέας, Σ.Β., ‘Παύλος Καρολίδης’, Νέα Εστία 7 (Athens 1930), p. 935.

2. Ρενιέρη, Ε., ‘Ανδρονίκιο: ένα καππαδοκικό χωριό κατά το 19ο αι.’, Μνήμων 15 (Athens 1993), p. 35.

3. Γεωργιάδου, Κ., Προσθήκες στην εργογραφία του Παύλου Καρολίδη, ΚΜΣ, ΑΡ. ΤΑΞ. ΚΑΠ Κ 18 Ρ, p. 1.

4. Φωτιάδης, Ε. Π., ‘Παύλος Καρολίδης’, Ελληνικά 4 (Athens 1931), p. 291.

5. Γεωργιάδου, Κ., Προσέγγιση στη ζωή και το έργο του Παύλου Καρολίδη (1849-1930), ΚΜΣ ΑΡ. ΤΑΞ. ΚΑΠ Κ 18 Ρ, pp. 8-11. About the ‘Cappadocian Cycle’ and its historical framework see Πετροπούλου, Ι., ‘Ιστοριογραφικές προσεγγίσεις του Οθωμανικού παρελθόντος (19ος αι.)’, Μνήμων 21 (Athens 2001), pp. 269-295.

6. Γεωργιάδου, Κ., Προσέγγιση στη ζωή και το έργο του Παύλου Καρολίδη (1849-1930), ΚΜΣ ΑΡ. ΤΑΞ. ΚΑΠ Κ 18 Ρ, pp. 14-26, 30-38.

7. Γεωργιάδου, Κ., Προσέγγιση στη ζωή και το έργο του Παύλου Καρολίδη (1849 – 1930), ΚΜΣ ΑΡ. ΤΑΞ. ΚΑΠ Κ 18 Ρ, pp. 43-44.

8. Γεωργιάδου, Κ., Προσέγγιση στη ζωή και το έργο του Παύλου Καρολίδη (1849-1930), ΚΜΣ ΑΡ. ΤΑΞ. ΚΑΠ Κ 18 Ρ, p. 58.

9. The "Politikos Syllogos", the political organ of the "Organisation of Constantinople", did everything against the Greek members of Parliament that had not been of the same opinion, as evidenced by the rumour spread by the syllogos that Karolidis had become a Muslim. Μπούρα, Κ., ‘Οι Βουλευτικές εκλογές στην Οθωμανική Αυτοκρατορία. Οι Έλληνες βουλευτές 1908-1918’, Δελτίο Κέντρου Μικρασιατικών Σπουδών 4 (Athens 1983), p. 79, note 54.

10. Γεωργιάδου, Κ., Προσέγγιση στη ζωή και το έργο του Παύλου Καρολίδη (1849 – 1930), ΚΜΣ ΑΡ. ΤΑΞ. ΚΑΠ Κ 18 Ρ, pp. 76-79.

11. Γεωργιάδου, Κ., Προσέγγιση στη ζωή και το έργο του Παύλου Καρολίδη (1849 – 1930), ΚΜΣ ΑΡ. ΤΑΞ. ΚΑΠ Κ 18 Ρ, pp. 99, 112.

12. Γεωργιάδου, Κ., Προσέγγιση στη ζωή και το έργο του Παύλου Καρολίδη (1849 – 1930), ΚΜΣ ΑΡ. ΤΑΞ. ΚΑΠ Κ 18 Ρ, p. 119.

13. Φωτιάδης, Ε.Π., ‘Παύλος Καρολίδης’, Ελληνικά 4 (Athens 1931), pp. 293-294.